Published on 08/20/02

Pluots: a sweet new fruit choice

By April Reese
University of Georgia

If you're looking for a sweet way to take your vitamins, eating pluots may soon be your solution.

Pluots are hybrid fruits from a cross of plums and apricots. These sweet fruits are packed with essential vitamins, says Judy Harrison, an extension nutrition specialist with the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

Harrison believes we will pluots will soon be showing up in Georgia grocery stores. They're high in vitamins A and C and are a good source of potassium. Pluots are also low in fat. They're sodium-free, saturated fat-free and cholesterol-free.

Plums + Apricots = Pluots

An early summer crop, pluots are available from May to September. They have a smooth skin like a plum. Inside, they're a juicy mix of sweet fruit flavors. Colors range from red and purple to yellow-green.

Use pluots in sauces or as a sweetener. Bake them into breads, or use them sliced in salads.

Harrison offers a few tips on selecting the right pluots.

"The fruit should be plump with consistent skin color and firm texture," she said. "Avoid pluots with soft spots or ones that are green."

If you buy them too early, place them in a closed paper bag at room temperature until they ripen. Then put them into the refrigerator crisper bin.

Several Varieties Available

There are a number of varieties, Harrison said, depending on the flavor you want accentuated.

Flavor Rich pluots are "a unique breed of fruit that tastes at first like a sweet plum and then like an apricot," she said. "Its skin is almost black, and its flesh is an amber color. The taste is 'zingy' or 'zesty.'"

Flavor Rich pluots are three-fourths plum and one-fourth apricot. Dapple Dandy pluots look more like apricots with a pinkish skin with maroon flecks. It's also known as "Dinosaur Egg" because of its speckles and abnormally large size. The taste is described as half plum, half apricot.

Flavor King pluots are hybrids bred with the Santa Rosa plum. They're very large and resemble huge, heart-shaped Santa Rosas.

"The taste is described as almost effervescent," Harrison said. "It's said to be one of the highest-flavored pluots ever developed."

The inner color of the Flavor King is unique with its bright red to yellow fading colors. It looks orange near the pit.

Some California varieties are Flavor Heart, Hand Grenade, Blue Gusto and Candy Stripe.